Chicken Mushroom & Collard Green Stew

I needed some inspiration. I’d been craving some flavorful soup for weeks now. I was flipping through some of my old food magazines. I came across a recipe that looked fairly good. I read through it, went to the grocery store and worked out my gameplan.

I did use the skeleton of this recipe and made some changes as I do. I will include the original recipe from Cooking Light, if you’re interested. I will walk through my process below.

Ingredients:

4-5 slices, thick cut bacon

Olive oil

1-2 chicken breasts, chopped into 1″ chunks

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Onion powder

4 cups sliced preferred mushrooms

1-2 medium carrots, sliced

1-2 stalks of celery, sliced

1 medium onion, diced

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

4 tbsp unsalted butter

1/3 AP flour

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup 2% milk

2 cups low sodium chicken broth

1/2 tsp dry mustard

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1-2 cups chiffonade collard greens

4 cups wild rice

Mise en place! Chop up everything now. Once the recipe gets going it will make things a lot easier for you. There will be some multi-tasking involved. The measurements above are fairly guesstimated but you can see the amounts.

Render the fat from the bacon (not pictured) and set the bacon to the side to be used later as garnish.

Depending on how much fat you rendered you  may need to add a glug of oil to the pot. Brown the chicken, SEASON THE CHICKEN, it is okay if it is not cooked through completely at this point. Set the chicken aside.

Add the mushrooms and stir. If your pot starts to dry out add another glug of oil.Cook the mushrooms down. Remove the mushrooms and set them aside.Add your mirepoix to the pot plus the garlic and bay leaves. Allow the vegetables to soften, not caramelize. Add vinegar and stir, allow to reduce. Return chicken and mushrooms back into the pot. Turn the heat to low.In a pot, melt butter over med-high heat. Add flour and whisk quickly. Carefully and slowly add the milk/cream/stock, whisking constantly. You want this to be smooth, no flour chunks. After you pour in about half of the liquid and you have a slight thick but smooth sauce, pour in the remaining liquid and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce to low. Season this simply with salt, pepper and dry mustard.

Add the chiffonade collards to the pot, the hot liquid will gently wilt the collards without over cooking them. They’ll keep that pretty green color. At this point you want to stir to combine and TASTE TASTE TASTE. Add what you feel you may need; I wound up adding more salt and pepper plus some garlic and onion powder.Add parsley and remove bay leaves. Make sure you get them all, bite into one and you’ll curse yourself out. I chopped the bacon and some parsley for garnish.

© 2020 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

The recipe from Cooking Light (it’s a good magazine, I recommend it)

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Spinach and Artichoke Chicken Manicotti

I intended on boiling the handy dandy boxed noodles but I felt compelled to make the noodles. The last time I did that I just made some simple pasta noodles. When I went to the Googles to find some inspo I saw a technique that I’d never heard of which meant that I obviously have to try it.

Additionally the supermarket only had an insanely large container of ricotta. The Googles said it was easy so I said ‘what the hell?”

And it was!

I’m not writing up a lengthy post. I think the pictures are largely self explanatory. I didn’t use any precise measurements aside from the manicotti and the ricotta, which I’ll link to if anyone feels adventurous.

Fresh ricotta

Fresh manicotti

I winged this meal. I didn’t know what was happening until I was basically ready to assemble.

The following are the components:

I cooked up ground chicken thighs. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and a bit of chopped garlic and shallots.

Chopped spinach (frozen) and chopped artichoke hearts

I used a can of crushed tomatoes. I seasoned it up with the usual suspects and my personal tricks. Season your sauce as you like or use your usual.

Shredded mozzarella.

I mixed the ricotta with the spinach and artichokes. I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, parmesan and crushed red pepper.The rest is just assembly. Make sure you place them seam side down. Bake at 350 until nice and bubbly then make sure your cheese gets nice and melty 😍

This was my first time using this crepe-pasta technique. I did an amazing job with the flavors. I think it’s more suitable for a light recipe. This is hearty. I think I would have preferred an ordinary noodle. Either way this was amazingly yummy!

Worth every step!

🐷.

 

 

 

© 2020 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Quick and Easy Ham & Cheese Breakfast Cups

I whipped these up for our family’s Christmas brunch. I was a little concerned because I’m personally not a big fan of baked eggs or quiche. I knew my family would enjoy them so I made them anyway.

And then I tasted one.

Yo.

I ate like four or five and instantly decided that I would be making these again.

It’s a really simple recipe. I fully intend on freezing some of these and warming them up throughout the week .So, these are easy and efficient especially for busy mornings, independent kiddos, etc.

It’s clear that these are suitable for customization. Feel free to try your own combinations like:

Pepperoni and mozzarella

Spinach and feta

Sundried tomato, basil and spinach

Feta, olives and chickpeas

Basil, mozzarella and tomato

Tag @NibblesandNom and share what you’ve come up with.

 

(I did not measure this. Just consider your family’s preferences, chop and dump)

 

To fill 12-cupcake pan I used:

5 eggs, whisked

Cheddar cheese

Finely chopped fresh brocolli

Chopped green onion

Chopped deli ham

Cream

Crescent rolls

Cooking Spray

S&P

 

I promise it’s a really easy and straightforward idea so I don’t any intention of writing anything extensive.

Preheat your oven to 350 and bake for 15-20m. You can store them in the fridge in an airtight container. You can freeze them and warm em up as you need them.

Jerk Chicken and Spicy Beef Patties

I did these at the same time. I’m just going to jot down what I recall doing. Follow the techniques, use what you got, use your own spice combos and TASTE TASTE TASTE.

Both dishes started with chopped garlic, red onion, jalapeno and scallions.

I seasoned my chicken breast with just a little salt, pepper, garlic and cumin. I wanted the chicken to taste good on its own. I didn’t want to rely on the sauce.

The ground beef was not seasoned until it was cooked through.

I seared one side of the chicken and then flipped it.

The chicken was then seasoned with some pepper and all spice. I added a tbsp of Grace jerk seasoning, scotch bonnet sauce and Worcestershire sauce. I allowed this to ‘braise’ until the sauce reduced some.

I chopped the chicken and added it back to the pan. I added a bit of water, some scallions and then stirred to combine.

Once the beef was cooked through it was mashed to break down the meat into smaller pieces.

I used spices like curry, cumin, ginger, all spice, garlic, onion and clove. I used a bit of Worcestershire and fish sauce.

I used water to temper the flavors and the moisture lever. Use salt last, you don’t want a salty dish.

Allow these filling to chill.

Preheat oven to 420

To assemble the patties:

Ensure that your filling is cool and not too watery

Take a disc and roll it out to create a larger patty discSpoon the filling onto the disc, do not over fill

Fold over and seal using your fingers and then a fork

(If you want to freeze these for later, this is when you want to do it.)

Bake until patties are crispy and golden brown.

Allow to cool before eating.

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Beef Patty Pastry Dough

Ingredients:

Dough:

3C AP four

1/2 tsp salt

3 tbsp jamaican curry powder

2 sticks of unsalted butter, frozen and cut into tabs

3/4C cold water

1 tbsp white vinegar

1 egg, lightly whisked

KEEP EVERYTHING COLD. STICK IT IN THE FREEZER. KEEP EVERYTHING COLD!

  1. In your food processor, pulse together the butter, flour, salt and curry powder
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, water and vinegar
  3. Slowly add the mixture to the food processor
  4. Pulse until the dough forms a ball
  5. Quickly dump the dough onto plastic wrap, wrap it up and stick it in the fridge (1 hr) or freezer (30-45m).

Now here is where it got fun. I had so much energy to transfer that I just took every technique I’ve ever used to try to get that flakey, buttery pastry that I love. I thought I was doing way too much BUT it came out so perfectly. The best I’ve ever made. Flour is your friend. So is the freezer. Do not let your dough get warm. Do not let your dough get soft. Do not let your butter melt. You want to see those big butter chunks. They’re responsible for those flakey layers we melt. When in doubt, stick it in the freezer! 

Prepare your work area with lots of flour. You want it everywhere. I spread flour all over a cookie sheet. One for prep and one for baking the actual beef patty.

I cut my dough into thirds so that I could keep some cool while I worked on the other.

Place one disc on a floured surface and press out into a rectangular shape

Roll it out until you have a long rectangle

Fold like an envelope

Roll it out again

Fold it again into an envelope then fold it on top of itself, so its like a cube?

I know it sounds like a lot but that’s because we’re not following rules anymore. We want flakes! We want flakes!

Press this down and roll it out again

Fold it up the ‘long way’ and roll it up

Keep chilled until it’s time to use it.

Freeze your scraps and any other dough.

Take one ‘roll’ out and roll it out until it’s like 1/4-/1/8 inch thick

Use a round dish to cut your shape

Keep everything floured, freeze discs as your work.

Repeat until you’ve used up your dough.

 

I used this dough to cook Jerk Chicken Patties and Spicy Beef Patties.

Shaved Brussel Sprouts Escovitch Slaw

I don’t know where this idea came from but I am glad it found me. I will absolutely be making this again. This was an easy and quick side. It is light and flavorful and complemented the patties that I made very well. I did not measure anything. Start with a small amount if you’re unsure because you can always add more. Taste until you can get jiggy with it.

Shaved brussel sprouts

thinly sliced red onion

thinly sliced jalepeno or habanero

Pinch of salt and pepper

A bit of sugar

Splash or two of red vinegar

Splash of worcestershire sauce

Splash of lime juice

Dash of clove

A couple of dashes of all spice

In one bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, lime and Worcestershire sauce

In another bowl, add shredded vegetables

Add liquids to the bowl

Add the spices

Using tongs, gently toss together

Taste and adjust as needed

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

White Chocolate and Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

1c AP flour

1c oats

2/3c brown sugar, packed

1/2c each craisins and white chocolate

1 stick cool but softened butter uns.

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 baking soda

Preheat to 350

Combine dry ingredients

On low, cream butter and sugar

Add egg and vanilla

Add dry ingredients

Add craisins and white chocolate

Combine with wooden spoon or spatula

Crumple parchment*

Form balls

Pro tip: Crumpling parchment paper makes it easier to manipulate when using baking sheets and pans

Bake for 10-15 minutes

Start checking for doneness around 10m

Edges should turn golden brown

Cool on cookie sheets before transferring to a cooling rack

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Buttermilk Waffles for Two

My friend teases me because I’ll make a pancake or four cupcakes. Well, I’ll also make two waffles. Waste not want not. It’s just me and the kid. I have no use for a half dozen waffles.

This recipe is for two decently sized waffles. If you want to make more then allow me to direct you to my go-to recipe converter. Simply input the interval you want to increase the recipe by (3 for roughly six, four for roughly 8, etc.)

You can add fixins, below I added spices and chopped apples. You can also add toppings, pictured below with strawberry compote.

Ingredients

1c flour

1 tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

(any dry add on)

3/4c warmed buttermilk

3tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

Basic recipe:

Dry ingredients in one bowl.

Melt butter in another.

Add warmed buttermilk to the butter.

Add lightly whisked egg and vanilla.

Whisk wet into dry.

Portion into your waffle maker and cook following your machine’s operation.

© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Orzo “Greek” Pasta Salad

I don’t eat many sides from the grocery store deli but I will always be up for the various Greek pasta salads.

I make this pretty often but my produce usually just reflects what I have on hand. It comes together fairly easily and quickly. It also tastes better the longer everything marries.

Ingredients

Half a box of orzo

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, finely chopped

1/4 tomato, finely chopped

1/3-1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

1/2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried mint

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Chop your veggies

Boil and drain your orzo, rinse under cold water.

Combine dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Combine all ingredients plus dressing. Toss with a wooden spoon or a spatula.

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Peach Pico

This isn’t a precise recipe. It can easily be scaled up for a larger amount. This yielded me about two cups which was more than enough for our dinner tonight.

Taste as you go and adjust to suit your preference. If you have a good peach, your pico should be plenty sweet.

You can easily substitute in other fruits like mango or pineapple!

Combine gently in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 large tomato

1 ripe peach chopped

1/4 chopped medium red onion

1/8 c chopped cilantro

1/2 small jalapeño chopped (seeded if you don’t want it too spicy)

1/4 habenero chopped (ditto)

Zest of half of a lime

Juice of a lime

S&P

Sugar/honey/agave as needed if it isn’t sweet enough

Use as dip or on top of some tacos 🐷

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved